Delta’s BusinessElite seats on a trip to South Africa
When Delta began offering direct service from the United States to South Africa, we thought the American carrier’s entry into those international skies would drive the quality of the route up prompting others to push their service to a higher standard.
The airline’s reputation for friendly and efficient service and its extensive operations with increasingly broad international reach made us think Delta would deliver a better than average or even an excellent product, especially in the usually profitable business category.
Instead, Delta’s BusinessElite service on that route was significantly below our expectations. It was the worst travel experience we have encountered aboard that large carrier. Click here to read a dedicated feature on Delta BusinessElite service from the United States to South Africa.
Your comprehensive commentary on your Business Class flight on Delta to Johannesburg has been read with interest. At the expense of being brutually honest service on SAA would have been no better.
Considering the positives : the SAA lay-flat configured seat in J Class is one of the best in the world and your postural comfort would have been guaranteed and your sleep time enhanced with a high quality Duvet and sizeable fluffy pillow. Entertainment options would have been adequate but the earphones are of a poor quality and uncomfortable. English is well spoken and this should not pose a problem.
My cause for concern is the standard of the food served in Business class, it does not deliver in its simplicity and is purely and completely budget driven, whilst being fresh and hygenically served it is far from exciting. The worse case scenario being when the product is over heated, leading to the presentation and taste being completely ruined and this appears to be the norm, particularly at breakfast . You would have scored with the quality of wines [ Champagne, Whites, Reds, Port and Cognac plus spirits], generally timeously served.
However friendly, empathetic and professional service levels are sorely lacking and this is one of my great concerns. Service delivery might reflect a varying degree of efficiency from flight to flight depending on the motivational drive by the different Pursers on board , but overall the attitude is poor and service mechanical, not necessarily harried.
The lay over in Dakar is painful and disruptive but the time spent on the ground and the extreme security measures administered are beyond the control of any Carrier. What can be said is that the change of crew is always conducted in a responsible manner, at no time is the cabin unmanned during the overlap.
I would like to see an improvement in service too but my experience has shown that service levels, product delivery and the general flight experience has become worse not better over the years despite the competition from other World Cass Airlines [ Emirates, Air Malaysia]